Not Quite Enough

Yesterday afternoon Joey Bart came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with one out. The Giants were down 5-4, desperately needing at least one run to prolong the game, 2 runs to win the game and head off for a postseason series in Los Angeles.

It was a poetic, potentially beautiful moment. After all, Giant‘s Franchise Icon Buster Posey, who plays the same position as Bart, skipped the season. Fans immediately clammored for Bart to take his place. The team was very hesitant but ultimately went for it. And when they went for it, they went all in. Bart was pretty much the main catcher once he arrived.

There were ups and downs. There was tremendous exit velocity, and opposite field power, and plenty of flashes of #2-overall-pick talent.

But there were also rookie mistakes, and the inability to get on the same page with Johnny Cueto, and most of all a general sense of being overmatched by big league pitching.

But all the ups and downs would have been long forgotten if Bart sent a majestic home run into the empty bleachers to tie the biggest game of the year.

But Joey Bart saw just three pitches, missed two of them, and very quickly went back to the dugout, striking out in the most definitive way possible: good morning, good afternoon, good night on three 99 mph fastballs.

In so many ways it was a moment that captured this bizarre little season perfectly. It was fun. There was a lot to be excited about. But this team still has a ways to go to be ready for big time competition and Joey Bart is the embodiment of this truth.

I will spend some time in future posts reviewing the season, the highs and lows, why we should be excited about the future, why we shouldn’t be too bummed at how this season went (preview: we’re in a pandemic, and did you really want to watch this bullpen try to protect a lead against the Dodgers with everything on the line? Ok, I did too, but it probably would have been horrible).

But for now, I leave you with one final thought/question. How would this have been different if Buster Posey was around this year?

Please be clear: in no way am I questioning Posey’s decision. I think he did the right thing, and I think his decision is quite admirable and should be honored.

But from a purely baseball perspective, how many games better would the Giants have been with Posey around? I am convinced that even with this middling pithing staff, Posey gets them to the “magical” 32 win mark.

How might his presence have calmed a chaotic staff? How would his mentorship have shaped Bart’s experience? Would Bart even have been there?

We’ll never know, but it’s an interesting thought experiment.

I’m not bummed with how it all went down. In the pantheon of Giants’ disappointment, I don’t think this even makes the top 10.

But the mission is clear: get some pitchers and pray for Buster’s return!

Never Read Me Again #sfgiants #weekinreview

Welp. Pretty much everything I wrote about last Monday turned to mush this week in what has to go down as the most disappointing stretches of the season:

  1. The Giants were terrible in Miami, needing 16 innings on getaway day just to salvage a game. Not surprisingly, the bats were very quiet in LA until Sunday when they manage to avoid getting swept again on the final day of a series.
  2. The Giants bench is still good, but it gets stretched a bit now that Evan Longoria will miss extended time with a fractured hand.
  3. Which means that the offense may never be at full strength this season. By the time Longoria returns, who knows who will be out then.
  4. Brandon Belt is back, and so is Cory Gearrin. Not only is he not out of the organization he’s still on the major league team! Groans abound.
  5. Madison Bumgarner is back but he’s not in dominant form yet. I was excited for the quick return, but I guess we should not be surprised that he’s still shaking the rust off. I do expect much better from him soon.
  6. Brandon Crawford is still amazing and great, but he has cooled off a bit, and now will be gone for three days to attend the birth of his fourth child.
  7. Finally, the road issues continue as the Giants now fall to 16-26 away from AT&T.

There are reasons for hope. Somehow the Giants are still in it. They are only 4.5 games out of first in the NL West.

Finally, I’ve written in nearly every post about the weird schedule this year. Well, for the first time that weirdness tilts in the Giants favor. The Giants have 10 straight games at home (including a chance at redemption against the Marlins!). Then they go on the road for 6 games. Three of those are against the first place Arizona Diamondbacks. Then they go to Colorado, who, amazingly, has a terrible home record. That’s 6 in-division road games (i.e. no east coast swing, and games that directly impact the NL West standings). That is followed by a nine game home stand.

To summarize: 19 of the next 25 games are at home!

Now is the time!


In other news: